After two contrasting men’s semi-finals, Luke Johnson will meet Brandon Murphy in the UK Pro League week 2 final in Sheffield.
Johnson, the winner of week 2 in the first series at St Georges, needed all his experience to get the better of Harry Wendelken, after a ding-dong tie-break where both players traded the lead.
For much of the match that outcome seemed anything but likely as a string of Wendelken winners left him a set and a break-up and serving for the match. Until then Johnson had appeared unsettled with Wendelken’s dominance in rallies forcing him into errors in the search for quick winners. The turning point came with Wendelken serving at 5-3 up, when the wily Johnson slowed the game down and piled pressure onto Wendelken who missed a couple of shots and then double faulted at break point. The momentum had shifted, and Johnson won the second set at the tie-break to push the match into a championship tie-break. Wendelken forced a couple of mini breaks in the decider, yet Johnson manage to holds his nerve to make a third final.
In the earlier semi-final it was the younger player, Brandon Murphy, who’s composure held up best. In a first set where both players had held serve comfortably a couple of errors from Ewan Moore, serving at 5-4 down, gave the 21-year-old debutante a sniff and he duly broke to take the set. That appeared to affect Moore whose first serve began to falter losing his next two service games to find himself 4-0 behind. Though the Scot rallied to force a break-back point,
Murphy’s composure was impressive as he served his way out of trouble and then again with two aces in the final game to close out the match 6-4, 6-1. After the match Murphy said the experience from saving 5 match points against Billy Harris earlier in the week had left him feeling more relaxed in the pressure points, once again showing the benefit to the players of the quick-fire, guaranteed, competitive matches this format provides.
There will be a new name on the women’s roll of honour with Sofia Samavati from Denmark taking on Elena Malygina after both won in straight sets.
Recent Loughborough ITF winner Samavati landed her eleventh straight win to beat Anna Brogan 6-3, 6-0, asserting her game and not giving Brogan any chance to fight back. She will meet Elena Malygina after she defeated Joanna Garland 6-4, 6-3 to consolidate an excellent first week for the Estonian.
Nadia Rawson bounced back from yesterday’s loss to beat Miruna Vasilescu 6-3, 6-2 and progresses to the 5th place playoff where she will meet Miruna’s sister Arina. Other winners on the day were Sean Hodkin, who will now play Tom Hands for 5th place, with Andre Lukosiute, Maddie Brooks and David Fox all winning their round robin 9th – 12th ties.
The finals of the second week will start at 12.15 with the women’s one, live on Tennis Channel, BT Sport and ukpl.tv.